RES Software have announced RES Virtual Desktop Extender (VDX) is now available as a standalone offering. While VDX is not a new technology, it was previously part of the enterprise option of RES Workspace Manager. With this announcement, RES Software are the first to offer a proven product that allow virtualised user workspaces to present applications hosted across a mix across physical and hosted virtual desktop solutions.

What does RES Virtual Desktop Extender do?

Virtual Desktop Extender offers you the function merge applications that are hosted on a physical desktop into a remote desktop session, or between different remote desktop sessions. By doing this you can eliminating the need to switch between multiple sessions and remove the barrier of migrating to or merging between virtual desktops because a particular application needs direct access to local resources, or has an issue running in a virtual desktop, or is hosted in a different virtual desktop environment.

How can it help my virtualised desktop project?

As we mentioned in RES VDX – the missing piece in the VDI puzzle, VDX can allow you to better mix-and-match between a traditional desktop delivery service and virtualised desktops: be they Presentation Virtualization (such as Microsoft Remote Sessions/Terminal Services or Citrix XenApp) or a server hosted virtual desktop (e.g. Citrix XenDesktop, Quest vWorkspace or VMWare’s View).

VDX is already used by a number of organisations. For example, in the UK a college was utilising virtual desktops to deliver a standardised desktop environment to students, but had issues supporting video conferencing and video editing applications within a virtualised desktop. VDX allowed these applications to be hosted on a physical PC and be presented within the virtualised desktop environment: improving the user experience while reducing the demand on the virtualised desktop infrastructure. In another example a city council utilised VDX to help reduce the time to migrate to virtualised desktops. The goal was to migrate to a centralised desktop, but wide adoption was scheduled to take a long time as some legacy applications were expensive to move to a virtualised environment. Here, VDX provided greater flexibility and reduced adoption time-scales by allowing those legacy applications to be integrated into a the virtualised desktop workspace yet hosted on the end-devices.

These solutions and examples focus on mixing physical and virtual desktops, but VDX could also be utilised to allow access between virtual desktop implementations. Need to present and application hosted on a VMWare View or Microsoft Remote Desktop workspace within a Citrix XenApp session for example? VDX can be used to enable this.

It is unlikely that this announcement will be the catalyst to truly make 2011 the Year of the Virtual Desktop, but the RES Virtual Desktop Extender will resolve a thorny issue: that a virtual desktop is often considered an out-and-out replacement for a physical desktop when in fact it is not uncommon that the two technologies need to compliment each other. Without VDX, presenting a workspace’s applications within another can be a clunky mash-up, cumbersome and unflattering.

Alternatives?

Citrix allow you to mix between XenDesktop and XenApp sessions, and XenClient offers reverse seamless from one XenClient virtual desktop to another. Ericom do include a very similar technology as part of Ericom’s PowerTerm Webconnect desktop virtualisation management.

However, RES VDX offers the unique function of being able to operate with a number of remote protocols over a number of solutions: it works with both Citrix’s Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and doesn’t require having a client-side hypervisor to be installed.

So how much?

VDX is currently priced at $15 per seat. Likely far more competitive than a dozen red roses and a fancy tea on Valentines Day.

RES VDX is an incredibly useful enabler for virtualised desktops. It delivers on improving the user experience and better matching the needs of the user by allowing access to applications they need to use in their workspace.

That said, if you have an environment of mixed physical and virtual desktops consider how those physical PCs are to be managed and maintained and how the user’s preferences and application settings are kept consistent between environments. Its perhaps no co-incidence that RES are one of a number of vendors who offer products that can be used to achieve this with their Workspace Manager product.

For additional information on VDX , or to download a free trial visit www.reverseseamless.com

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Andrew Wood (144 Posts)

Andrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

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